Houston, TX – The Houston Police Officers’ Association (HPOA) was back in court on Tuesday to defend their effort to stop formerly-convicted cop-killer Alfred Brown from being able to collect millions in taxpayer dollars.
Harris County District Court Judge George Powell has been tasked with determining whether or not he will sign off on Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s amended dismissal of Brown’s case, which would pave the way for Brown to sue the state for compensation, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Ogg previously determined that Brown was “actually innocent” in the April 3, 2003 execution of Houston Police Officer Charles Clark.
Store clerk Alfredia Jones was also murdered during the attack.
Flanked by the murder victims’ families, HPOU President Joe Gamaldi and former union president Ray Hunt immediately held a press conference in the wake of Ogg’s March 1 announcement, and blasted her decision.
“For quite some time, Alfred Brown and his attorneys have been seeking a declaration of ‘actual innocence,’ so he may receive compensation from the state,” Gamaldi said during the conference.
By law, such a finding requires that Ogg would need to conclude that “no credible evidence exists that inculpates the defendant,” Gamaldi explained.
“[In] laymen’s terms, that means that no reasonable person would believe that this suspect had anything to do in these murders,” he continued. “In Alfred Brown’s case, it’s our belief that the district attorney can’t touch that standard with a 10-foot pole.”
Gamaldi reiterated that, even today, Brown continues to be the “prime, number one suspect” in Officer Clark’s murder, and that the union believes that so strongly in the evidence against him that they predict the case will be brought before a grand jury for charges once again.
“The HPOU was once again in court this morning attempting to stop Kim Ogg's obsession with naming formerly convicted cop killer Alfred Brown ‘actually innocent’ entitling him to millions in compensation from the State,” the union said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The union blasted Ogg for forging ahead with her attempts to push Brown’s supposed actual innocence through the court, especially when many of her own colleagues disagreed.
“Despite dissension in her own ranks, her own top DAs…don’t believe he is ‘actually innocent,’ she has charged head long with no regard to the facts,” the post read. “She even selected campaign donor John Raley as special prosecutor to review the case and create a farce of a report to give her the coverage she needed.”
“Something stinks at the DA's office when you are actively trying to pay the number 1 suspect in the murder of a police officer millions of dollars,” the union declared. “Kim Ogg's conduct is shameful.”
The HPOU said it will continue to fight for the victims’ families, and that the court has scheduled another hearing to take place next week.
If Powell refuses to sign Ogg’s request for dismissal of Brown’s case, it would be unprecedented, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“The court would be the first in the State of Texas to decline an actual innocence claim when requested by the DA,” special prosecutor John Raley told the paper.
Brown served over 10 years behind bars for the execution of Officer Clark, who was killed during a botched robbery attempt at a check cashing business, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Brown’s accomplice, Elijah Joubert, also fatally shot Jones during the altercation, police said.
Brown and Jones were both sentenced to death row, while a third accomplice, Dashan Glaspie, was given a 30-year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Brown’s conviction in 2014, after a Houston police officer located phone records that Brown’s attorneys claimed supported Brown’s alibi for the night of the murder, Houston Public Media reported.
Brown’s attorneys argued that the call showed that Brown was at his girlfriend’s apartment at the time of the murders – a claim that Harris County attorneys, the HPOU, and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo disputed.
They said that because the call was a three-way call, Brown could easily have been at the murder scene.
"Alfred Brown bluffed his way out of prison by telling the 351st Judicial District of Texas that a phone record proved he was at his girlfriend's apartment only minutes after the double murder of Alfredia Jones and Houston Police Officer Charles Clark," the county attorneys wrote, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"Both the District Attorney's Office and the Court accepted this misrepresentation, but an accurate review of these records disproves Brown's story and calls into doubt everything he has said for the last half decade,” the attorneys added.
Former Harris County prosecutor Dan Rizzo, who handled Brown’s case, was also criticized for not having provided the phone records to Brown’s defense team.
In 2018, Ogg announced that she had hired special prosecutor John Raley, a patent lawyer who has never prosecuted a criminal case, to look into Brown’s case.
She released the findings of Raley’s report on Mar. 1, and declared that Brown is “actually innocent,” Houston Public Media reported.
“The system has worked in this case,” Ogg said. “Alfred Brown was wrongfully convicted through prosecutorial misconduct.”
Chief Acevedo is among those who disagree with Ogg, and he said Brown should never be declared “actually innocent.”
Brown and Joubert have both implicated Brown in Officer Clark’s murder, and Brown’s former girlfriend told investigators that, after his trial, he admitted to her that he was at the murder scene, Chief Acevedo said in a letter to the Houston Chronicle.
Witnesses maintain that Brown was seen in the area of the apartment complex where his co-defendants said they hid after the murders.
“Moreover, HPD believes verifiable phone records show that shortly after the capital murder, Brown made a three-way call from the Villa Americana to his girlfriend’s apartment then merged the call to his girlfriend’s workplace in order to claim he was at his girlfriend’s apartment,” Chief Acevedo said.
The chief also questioned why Ogg hired Raley to determine whether or not Brown was “actually innocent.”
“Their review should concern all residents of Harris County,” he noted. “Raley is a civil attorney with limited experience in criminal law.”
“Raley categorically discredited witnesses who offered evidence Brown was guilty, and failed to meet with others, including those who placed Brown at the Villa Americana apartments before and after the murders,” Chief Acevedo added.
In order for Raley and Ogg to meet the definition of actual innocence, they had to determine that “only an unreasonable juror” would convict him, the chief explained.
There was never a hearing held to make such a determination.
“If the case were presented to a Harris County grand jury and even one grand juror thought there was any evidence that Brown was criminally culpable, the definition of ‘actual innocence’ would not be met,” Chief Acevedo continued. “To make this determination in a vacuum violates the spirit of the criminal justice system.”
Back in March, Gamaldi noted that Ogg reviewed the case against Brown for over a year before she hired Raley to look into it.
“It’s our opinion that, at best, she’s been completely incompetent in handling this case, and at worst, she’s politically motivated to allow Alfred Brown to walk free to curry favor with people that she made promises [to] as ‘Candidate Ogg,” the union president railed.
He and Hunt pointed out that Ogg promised to look into the case even before she was elected.
“She talked to [Clark’s] attorneys prior to being elected, and said she was going to look into this case,” Hunt said, adding that Ogg was “lying” when she claimed she didn’t review the case until she was in office.
“She should be embarrassed and ashamed at how incompetently this matter is being handled while these families continue to suffer,” Gamaldi said.
According to Gamaldi, Ogg’s office utilized $72,000 in taxpayer money to hire Raley to look into the case, even though he has “never prosecuted a criminal case before in his career.”
“He’s a patent attorney,” Gamaldi said.
Hunt noted that Raley is probably a great patent attorney and a nice guy, but argued that he is not a prosecutor.
“John Raley’s never prosecuted a traffic ticket,” he said with disgust.
As a result, if Raley had found probable cause to prosecute the case, Ogg had hired someone who wouldn’t have even been able to prosecute it himself, Hunt said.
“That’s not what you do for a special prosecutor,” he explained. “She hired him for one reason, and one reason only – and that was to find Alfred Brown ‘actually innocent.’”
Hunt also challenged Ogg’s assertion that Raley is an “expert in the field,” as well as her declarations that the special prosecutor “worked closely with the Homicide Division” on the case.
“Not one retired or active detective from the Houston Police Homicide Division believes that [Brown] is actually innocent,” he said.
“I hope this case comes back and haunts Kim Ogg,” Hunt said. “[She] is a disgrace to Harris County…I’m disgusted by [her].”
With the evidence against him, it goes against all logic to declare Brown innocent, Gamaldi said.
“The mere fact that I’m holding this press conference is absurd,” he declared. “No one in their right mind who has seen all the evidence would believe that this case would even come close to meeting the standard of ‘actual innocence.’”
Officer Clark’s widow, Hilda Clark, said that she tried to meet with Ogg on numerous occasions since she took office.
“She never had the decency to meet with me,” Hilda said. “I know she met with Alfred Brown several times, and I don’t know what she promised him, but she hired John Raley to support him in his case.”
Hilda said that witnesses who could place Brown at the scene of the murders have repeatedly been threatened by Brown’s supporters.
“I feel like I’m fighting the system,” the slain officer’s wife said. “I should not have to fight the system to get my husband justice."
Officer Clark served the Houston Police department for 20 years.
“She’s gonna let Alfred Brown collect money from the state for killing my husband,” Hilda continued. “She’s gonna bless him with millions of dollars for killing my husband.”